ChBE Seminar Series: Self-Assembling Prodrugs: From Molecular Assembly to Supramolecular Medicine

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
11:00 a.m.
2110 Chem/Nuc Building, UMD College Park
Taylor Woehl

Speaker: Honggang Cui, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering; Department of Oncology, School of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University

Title: Self-Assembling Prodrugs: from Molecular Assembly to Supramolecular Medicine


Drugs are a special class of chemical substances that produce a biological effect when administered to a living organism. For use in medical treatments, nearly all drugs need to be formulated in order to maximize its therapeutic efficacy while minimizing the possible side effects. Often times, the therapeutic agent is considered as the functional cargo to be delivered, and its potential as molecular building blocks has been largely ignored. In this presentation, I detail the use of drugs as effective molecular building units to create well-defined supramolecular nanostructures that contain a 100% drug loading for systemic delivery as well as supramolecular hydrogels for local treatment of human diseases. Our studies show that molecular design, assembly conditions and kinetic pathways are all critical factors that govern the resultant nanostructures and consequently the therapeutic outcomes. These findings have led us to believe that self-assembly of drugs offers an innovative yet simple way for drug formulation, producing drug-based nanomaterials for use in a wide variety of biomedical settings.


Honggang Cui received a Bachelor’s degree in Polymer Materials Science and Engineering from the Beijing University of Chemical Technology in 1999, a Master’s degree in Materialogy/Chemical Engineering from Tsinghua University in 2002, and a Ph.D. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2007. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow between 2007 and 2010 in the department of Materials Science and Engineering and the Institute for BioNanotechnology in Medicine at Northwestern University. He joined the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Institute for NanoBiotechnology at the Johns Hopkins University as Assistant Professor in 2010 and was promoted to Associate Professor with Tenure in 2017. He holds joint appointments in the Department of Material Science and Engineering, the Department of Oncology and Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Center for Nanomedicine of Wilmer Eye Institute at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His work in molecular assembly and biomolecular engineering has led to 113 published manuscripts in journals such as Science, Cell, JACS, and Journal of Controlled Release. In addition, the Cui Lab has filed 12 invention disclosures over the past 7 years, two of which have been licensed to industrial partners. Dr. Cui received a number of recognitions including the NSF CAREER Award, the Fellow of American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the Tsinghua Global Scholars Fellowship, the 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award, and Johns Hopkins Discovery Award. He is currently serving on the Advisory Board of three peer-reviewed journals, and has served as Guest Editors for Biomaterials, Chemical Society Reviews, Theranostics, Advanced Drug Delivery Reviews, and Journal of Controlled Release.

Audience: Campus 

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